Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 31, 2009
Branch a pleasant tackling surprise

Is it really all that positive a thing when a safety is your second-leading tackler? After all, that means opponents are getting pretty far beyond the line of scrimmage if a member of your secondary is getting in on so many stops.

But things being what they are in Silver and Blackdom, the Raiders will take strong safety Tyvon Branch's 51 tackles (only middle linebacker Kirk Morrison's has more tackles in Oakland with 67) as a good thing. Besides, Branch leads all defensive backs in tackles and his total ranks 15th in the NFL, only two tackles behind Ray Lewis. No wonder, then, Branch is seen as a sure tackler.

"Tyvon, he missed a couple last week, but for the most part he's been very consistent and is playing extremely well (and) he and (Michael) Huff both have been very good in their time in there," coach Tom Cable told reporters on Friday. "Tyvon's played all year, been good at coverage, good at tackling, done a very, very good job."

So much so that his play has kept rookie Mike Mitchell out of the mix. And yet, Cable foresees a way for both Branch and Mitchell to be on the field at the same time.

"Actually, we've kind of approached that issue," Cable said, "maybe getting (Mitchell) involved in some nickel-type stuff as a linebacker."


Despite missing two days of practice this week with flu-like symptoms and a 101-degree temperature, Bruce Gradkowski remains the back-up quarterback behind JaMarcus Russell with Charlie Frye the No. 3 signal caller.


Injuries - WR Nick Miller (shin), RB Darren McFadden (knee), RT Cornell Green (calf), LB Ricky Brown (ankle) are all out; WR Chaz Schilens (foot) and TE Tony Stewart (chest) are doubtful; LG Robert Gallery (fibula) and DE Greg Ellis (knee) are questionable. WR Louis Murphy (hip), CB Chris Johnson (groin) and Gradkowski all practiced full.

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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